The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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HM rolls out home-made Pajero

New Delhi, Oct. 25: The Pajero has arrived. And after months of speculation over what the price of the ‘assembled-in-India’ sports utility vehicle would be, Hindustan Motors (HM) has unwrapped two models sporting sticker prices of Rs 19.7 lakh for the Pajero GL and Rs 23.7 lakh for the GLX model. That’s a steal when you compare the CBU import price of Rs 34 lakh.

However, the company has made compromises and cut its corners: the home-made 2.8 litre, eight-valve SOHC turbo-charged inter-cooled diesel, four-wheel drive is built on a chassis body whereas the imported version is made of monocoque sheet — that is one sheet metal contoured into the lines of the vehicle which gives it more sturdiness. The CBU model also has a more powerful 3.2 litre engine.

HM’s president and executive director (automobile division) B. K. Chaturvedi said: “We have sold 34-36 CBU Pajeros so far. With these versions now on offer, the customers will have a much affordable prospect to own a world-class four-wheel sports utility vehicle. According to our study, the demand for the GL and GLX versions will increase to around 80-100 vehicles per month.”

The 2.8 litre engine will deliver a horsepower of 118.6 ps @4000 rpm, where as the Pajero Q car (Q being the Mitsubishi nomenclature of cars built on chassis) will be loaded with ball and nut steering gear, collapsible steering column, load sensing proportion valve, heaters and ACs, defroster, cargo room lamp and warning lights for tool box, oil pressure, door ajar, and brake vacuum.

The Thiruvallur plant, which also makes the Lancer, had to be fitted in with a different line to accommodate the Pajero involving an investment of Rs 50-60 lakh. The car will be present in five single tone colours -- Scotia White, Symphonic Black, Black Magic, Blue, Green and three-double toned colours.

The car will be face competition from cheaper Indian SUVs like the Tata Safari and Mahindra's Scorpio. But the scene in SUV segment is all set to heat up with several manufacturers planning launches next year. While the Hyundai Terracan is slated to be launched in January, Toyota's Prado, General Motors Panther and Honda’s CR-V are all slated to be launched sometime next year.

The sedans were rolled out from the manufacturing facility at Thiruvallur, about 50 km from Chennai, last evening.

The company has invested around Rs 12 crore in setting up an exclusive assembly line and body shop for Pajeros at the plant that was initially meant to make Sedan. “The facility can roll out four Pajeros every day or 1200 a year,” HM managing director A. Sankaranarayanan, adding the demand should match output.

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